(The original post of this article was on Gamnesia.com on 12/31/13)
With 2013 coming to a close and 2014 literally on the horizon, I decided to dig up a list of games coming out next year that I am honestly very excited for. My list consists of both big name titles and indie titles. It would have been very easy for me to come up with a list of 50 games coming out that I am really looking forward to, but I had to think hard and choose the games that have me personally excited. Normally, I really don’t care for putting my lists in order, but I am going to put them in order here. Take this list with the slightest grain of salt, and if you don’t like the list, make your own. Honestly, lists like this will always be different. One person might put one game over the other and vice versa. I am also going to put down the games that have or might have a 2014 release because things happen and games can be released earlier or later. Let us get started off with some honorable mentions.
5. Bravely Default: A fantastic looking RPG, but a couple of other RPGs have taken its place on the list because, well, I am looking forward to them more. I will say though that I am happy to see an old fashioned turn-based RPG from Square Enix with some new twists.
4. Yoshi’s New Island: An incredibly fun-looking 3DS platformer of the same spirit of the original Super Nintendo game. I just wish there was more known about it. But from what I have seen, it looks good!
3. The Order: 1886: I love the set-up for this game, but I wish there was more than just one trailer for it. Show us some gameplay!
2. A Hat in Time: I am excited for this platformer, but selfishly, I would be more optimistic about this game if it had a home console release.
1. Murdered: Soul Suspect: This game does look interesting even though a lot of comparisons have been made to the Capcom DS and IOS game, Ghost Trick: Spirit Detective. I am interested to see more about this game because I like the premise and the game mechanics shown so far. It looks like we might get something similar to L.A. Noire. However, seeing how this game is being made by the developer that made the overhyped flop Dark Void, I am curious to see how the finished product turns out when it is released next year.
Let’s get started with the official list.
17. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Personally, I have never been a huge fan of this franchise. I never cared for the insane-to-the-point-of-being-unfair difficulty or the main character. Ryu always came off as a character who had little personality. It didn’t help that the recent game, Ninja Gaiden 3, and its update, Razor’s Edge, flopped last year. I gave the updated version a six out of ten, but even then it was one of the worst games I played that year. Yaiba, however, looks like it's taking the over-the-top unrealistic style of the 3D games to the extreme, which I like. I am all for games making this change to be more politically correct when needed, but sometimes, I just want to play a game where I don’t have to think too hard and can just be a foul-mouthed ninja, fighting a horde of zombies.
16. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I’ll admit, while I do like the second game and think it is worth checking out, I don’t praise it as highly as, say, other reviewers on the internet. It does have a good script, a mature story, fantastic voice work, and the gameplay is better than other RPGs like Dragon Age. However, I did think the story could be a little boring from time to time and the combat could have been grander. I know Geralt of Rivia is a human, and not some immortal warrior, and I am not looking for something on the levels of say Asura’s Wrath, but maybe more pizazz in the movement could be added or something. Even after saying that, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this game. I do think this will be one of the best RPGs released for the new generation of consoles. With more dynamic combat, open world exploration, and a company that is known for having jaw-dropping beautiful graphics, The Witcher 3 will indeed be a wild time.
15. The Witch and The Hundred Knights
I am honestly not a huge fan of Nippon Ichi Software’s games, but I am rather intrigued by this title coming out from them. The art style used in their past games never appealed to me, but something about the look of the main playable character and the side characters has me intrigued. I also like the combat system shown where you will have different weapons. Maybe I'm more excited for this game than the company’s other games is because it's an action RPG. If you don’t know a lot about this game, I would recommend doing some research on it before it comes out in March. Whether it does well or not, let’s hope The Witch and the Hundred Knights delivers another homerun exclusive for the PlayStation 3.
Not a whole lot of shooters can grab my attention. When they do, it is more of a curiosity in how the game will turn out, and so Destiny is one of the few shooters that has caught my attention. Now, why isn’t this higher on the list? While I do like what I have seen from the gameplay shown, (I mean, you can’t go wrong when they have revealed that Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame will be your AI computer sidekick), I want to see more than what they have shown off. I want to see other areas of the game and not this wasteland of Russia or wherever the gameplay demos and trailers have taken place. Either way, this was the game that made me want to get a PlayStation 4 and play with my best friends. Let us hope Destiny lives up to its hype.
13. Watch Dogs
Maybe it is the draw of a new original IP and something a little different from Ubisoft, but I am really looking forward to this game. I like the idea of having shooting, stealth, and hacking. I know we have games like Deus Ex that combine all of those, but in my opinion, the recent Deus Ex game was not too impressive. It was good, but it seems like Watch Dogs has a better sense of what it wants to do. I know a lot of people will probably buy a PlayStation 4 for this game, but I am going to see what they do with the Wii U version, if anything. Let us hope this tale of hacking and open world exploration delivers.
This was the first kickstarter game I ever gave money to. I am just excited to play what is essentially a spiritual successor to the cult classic The Neverhood. I just love the art style, and seeing anything these days in Claymation is always a treat. I also like the voice cast they have, including Michael J, Nelson, Rob Paulsen, Jon Heder, and Veronica Belmont to name a few. I know the creator, Doug TeNapel, has some political views that no one is ever going to agree on, including me, but that shouldn’t get in the way of playing this unique adventure game. Hopefully, when this comes out, it is an overall fun, humorous, and enjoyable experience.
11. Wonder Flick
Even though I am a little bummed that this game looks like it is more about the gameplay than story, Wonder Flick looks to be a unique and interesting RPG. Sure, the look of the game might turn some people off, but this is Level-5 we are talking about, one of the best RPG developers around. I like the idea of a RPG using a flick-style combat system that you would see on something like a tablet or phone game. This game is coming to multiple consoles, and you can take the data from one version and put it on another version, but I think the best versions will be the one with touchscreen capability. Hopefully, we see this interesting RPG come out next year.
10. Child of Light
This is easily one of the most beautiful looking games on this list. This is partly due to the game engine they are using being the same game engine used in Ubisoft’s other game, Rayman Legends. I am also looking forward to this game’s combat system that is inspired by the Grandia series. This is kind of fitting, since Ubisoft published the first two Grandia games back in the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 days, and is one of my favorite RPG series. The story also looks deep, and I just can’t wait to see what the end product of this game will be. With great visuals, fun combat, and an interesting setting, Child of Light will hopefully be a great RPG to add to any gamer’s library.
9. Tales from the Borderlands/Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game’s episodic series.
After seeing these two games announced during the rather mediocre VGX stream on Spike.com, I knew that they would automatically be on my list of the most anticipated games of 2014. I think Tales from the Borderlands will be very interesting, since 2K’s Borderlands series has never been very story-focused, and that has been a criticism towards the series that is well known for memorable characters. It will also be interesting to see if they add any of the franchise’s famous infinite gun customization into the adventure game elements. On the other side of the spectrum, we will finally get a Game of Thrones game that actually has a genre that fits the series, and won’t be a terrible RTS or action RPG. I think a more story-oriented game works with the Game of Thrones series more so than the two genres I listed above. I willingly wait to see how both of these episodic series work out for the developer.
8. Super Smash Brothers for Wii U/3DS
I will admit, after the initial hype and the look at what has been shown so far, I am excited, but I am also a little concerned about the quality of both versions. I think the series would be interesting on a handheld, but you know the developer has to work around the limitations of the Nintendo 3DS compared to the obviously much more powerful Wii U. However, outside of that, I am always ready and excited for the next installment in one of my top three favorite fighting franchises. I love the addition of Mega Man and the Villager from Animal Crossing, and I hope we get a more varied roster and experience. Like, have the more varied roster of Brawl, but also have a more refined single player experience with none of the little issues Brawl had, and better online capabilities. I will be sitting here waiting for my copy of the next entry into one of the best fighting franchises ever.
7. Mario Kart 8
I have always been a huge Mario Kart fan since my first experience with the franchise on the Nintendo 64. I have played a majority of the series, and I like what I have seen so far within this entry in the series that has new and familiar elements. With racing games becoming more and more about realism and obnoxious micro-transactions, I just care more for the arcade-style racers where it’s just over-the-top and fun. I love the multiple kinds of vehicles you can drive, the gravity mechanic, and some of the levels that I have seen. I know we have had some arcade-style racers, but I think we need to see more of those, and I know that Mario Kart 8 will be a fantastic arcade racer game and one of the best games for the Wii U.
6. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
I might be one of the few people who likes this iteration of the Castlevania series, but I am happy to notice and observe that the Lords of Shadow Trilogy is getting more fans. I was honestly sick and tired of the same kind of game that we were getting from Koji Igarashi, since they all feel the same despite certain changes made to the overall design. It was getting stale, but I have enjoyed the Lords of Shadow games. They are, of course, not perfect, and Mirror of Fate has more issues than the first game, but I still enjoy it. Luckily, Lords of Shadow 2 will complete the storyline, and whether Konami wants to continue this storyline in the future is up to them. I like the improvements to combat, and the camera controls are very much welcomed. I also love the look of some of the giant boss fights that we have seen. The whole game has this gigantic epic feel to it, and I love it for that. I am very curious to see how Gabriel’s journey will officially end next year. Oh, and it always helps that your game has Patrick Stewart in it. He is always a high point for any game he is in.
5. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
What is it with this year where people at first complain about a first party game being released by Nintendo, but then months later, they stop complaining and in the end are hyped for the games they release? I am so puzzled how people can act like this. Anyway, as one of what seems like a few people who wasn’t asking for a Metroid Prime game from Retro Studios, I can’t wait to get my Donkey Kong platforming on. It looks fun. There are more playable characters, a fun new group of villains, and killer penguins! Who doesn’t want a game with killer penguins? It looks like Retro Studios has another fantastic game on their hands.
4. South Park: Stick of Truth
Even after being picked up by Ubisoft, and even after all of the delays, I am still so excited for this game. I love the Paper Mario-style combat and gameplay, the Earthbound-like style of thinking of how spells and items are used in this game’s universe, and the humor that seems to be intact and as strong as ever. I respect that Ubisoft wanted to make sure this game was released in a better form than just release it when they obtained it from THQ. Sure, the multiple delays were annoying, but hey, if these months have been spent making sure the game is 100% playable, then by all means delay it as much as you need. With its crude but creative humor, fun turn-based combat, and a look that matches the show to a T, South Park: The Stick of Truth is sure to be a smash hit next year.
3. Bayonetta 2
Enough is enough, people. Hopefully, by the time this game is released, the complainers can just be quiet about how this game is exclusive to the Wii U. Listen, Nintendo was the only one going to fund it; no one else was going to. You only have yourself, Microsoft, Sony, and Sega’s advertising to blame that the original game didn’t sell well, and you should be thanking Nintendo for actually stepping in to save it. Now be quiet and let’s get hyped for this game! Even though the story probably won’t make a lot of sense, the gameplay looks amazing. It looks fast-paced, epic in scale; there are more outrageous ways of killing your enemies; it seems self-aware at how insane it is; and it’s Platinum Games! The guys behind some of the best action games of the last gen. As a nice bonus, there is a two-player mode, which means you can play this crazy action game with a friend! I anxiously wait for a release date to put my preorder down to get this game. It will be great exclusive for the Wii U, and you should support it so we don’t end with another game with low sales because no one bought the game and have yet another outcry from fans of this franchise.
2. X (a.k.a Monolith Soft’s new RPG)
Oh man, the excitement I had when I saw the original trailer for this game. The grand musical score, the epic scale of the land you are going to fight and travel through, and the fact that it is made by the company that made one of my top 5 favorite RPGs of last gen, Xenoblade Chronicles, make for a pretty darn good looking RPG coming out next year. I also love the addition of robots to help you travel across the land and combat the world’s much larger wildlife. I will say that I have a concern with this game that it won’t be story heavy. I know there are RPGs that focus more on immersing you into the game’s world than on giving you a worthwhile story with memorable and likable characters, but I still think you can have both. I also worry that this will be more about having multiplayer added into the mix, but maybe it won’t be that bad. Maybe the multiplayer will be like Monster Hunter, and I know that game is extremely popular. Anyway, I just want a release date, and Nintendo can have all of my money when they release this game.
So, what beat out this game as my most anticipated game? Well…it is…
1. Broken Age
It was really hard to choose between Monolith Soft’s new game and Double Fine’s Broken Age. After seeing the gameplay footage though, I just got so excited for this game that I had to put it at number one. I love the look of the game, the characters, the setting, and, well, the actors they got for the game. There is just something so enchanting about this game that pulled me in and never let go. I hope the end product is fulfilling and entertaining. Add to that, you’ve got the talented mind of Tim Schafer, who is just an awesome guy. I can’t wait to play the first part in January, and I will have to see if this game was worth putting it as my most anticipated game of 2014.